From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010
Over the past two days, Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and I were joined by NASA's senior leadership -- the center directors, the heads of our mission directorates, and other members of our management team -- at a retreat to plan the agency's future. With passage of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, we now have a clear direction and can begin making plans for moving the agency forward. All of us engaged in a thoughtful and productive dialogue about the challenges and opportunities we face, and you'll be hearing more about the outcomes in the near future. We are united in our goals.
First, let me say how proud I am of the agency's leadership. It has been a challenging and sometimes emotional time for us to witness how the uncertainties about the future have been affecting our workers. Providing meaningful guidance has been difficult. The NASA workforce, both civil service and contractors, has stepped up to the plate and continued to carry on business as usual to the highest standards. Of course, business as usual for NASA means doing what others might think is impossible, and I commend you all for the outstanding accomplishments of the past year across many missions.
But now that we have a roadmap in the form of a bi-partisan Authorization Act, we can start to take action. The Authorization Act that the President signed Monday was the end result of a lot of legwork -- a lot of effort, negotiation and debate. We thank the members of Congress for their thoughtful deliberations about NASA's future over these several past months.
There are still many details that the appropriations process will provide, but our broad guidelines have now been enacted into law. This is a wonderful time for NASA - a time of excellent opportunities to shape a promising future for the nation's space program. At the same time, an incredible amount of work lies ahead.
As I see it, in the broadest sense, the biggest adjustments are going to be how we pursue our migration to commercial access to low Earth orbit and make the transition away from the Constellation Program.
I am excited by the prospect of developing multiple, redundant access to space and opening up an entirely new segment of the American economy. There are many details to be worked out about our oversight and input in the commercial partnerships we form - and we will work those details out - but I want everyone to understand that we will be making measured progress and not rushing into anything that does not ensure safety and meet our needs.
As we evaluate how to build on the legacy of the Space Shuttle and Constellation Programs, we will be striving to ensure that our skilled workforce has many opportunities to contribute to the future goals of NASA. President Obama has laid out an ambitious plan for NASA that pioneers new frontiers of innovation and discovery. It invests more in NASA; extends the life of the International Space Station; launches a commercial space transportation industry; fosters the development of groundbreaking technologies; and helps create thousands of new jobs. The talented and dedicated workforce that has helped us achieve so much over more than five decades will be crucial to our future as well.
I have asked your leaders when they return to their home bases to begin a process of communicating more about our upcoming goals and keeping you informed about our next steps. They'll start with all-hands meetings, and there will also be other venues for communication and exchange with you.
My focus as NASA administrator, and that of the agency in the coming year, will be these five goals:
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